Sporting new road warm ups, Marquette started the game by leading 5-0 thanks to good early efforts of Dominic James and Jerel McNeal who scored the first 8 points for the Eagles. McNeal would go on to be the leading scorer at the half with 11 points.
Another key player for Marquette in the first half was Dan Fitzgerald who had 8 first half points including 2-3 from beyond the arc. Marquette managed to cut the lead to 36-32 after a Dan Fitzgerald 3-pointer and a Jerel McNeal steal and slam. DePaul would lead at the half 40-33.
The second half began much like the first with both teams trading baskets. The 16 minute media timeout saw Marquette down by 3 points coming off a made basket plus foul which sent Dominic James to the line.
Marquette would pull to 46-45 with 12:35 left in the second half off of a Wesley Matthews put back. The game very quickly took on the feel of a prize fight with each team exchanging blows which would incite each fan base. Marquette was represented by a sizable contingent of fans and alumni who made the trip down to the Allstate Arena in Rosemont.
The Blue Demons cooled down considerably in the second half, shooting just 20% in the second half as of the 11:30 timeout. At the 9:58 mark, Marquette retook the lead from a reverse lay-in by Wesley Matthews only to have DePaul answer back with a Sammy Mejia put back.
The eight minute timeout would see DePaul leading by 1, 52-51 thanks to a circus shot by Jabari Curry from the right side of the lane. A fade-away three pointer by Marcus Heard would extend DePaul's lead to 55-51 only to have Jerel McNeal answer back to bring Marquette back to within one.
The four minute media timeout saw Marquette down 61-56. Fitzgerald makes the put back from a Jerel McNeal missed free throw followed up by an offensive foul on Wilson Chandler, which would be his fourth.
Dan Fitzgerald hits a three pointer off of an inbounds play with 1:45 on the clock to bring Marquette within one at 63-62 forcing DePaul into a timeout with 1:37 remaining. Out of the timeout, Dan Fitzgerald would foul out while trying to defend an alley-oop pass to Wilson Chandler sending Chandler to the line for two free throws, he missed the front end and the 2nd but Marcus Heard would be fouled by Wesley Matthews on the rebound putting Heard on the line where he buried two free throws putting DePaul ahead 65-62 with 1:28 remaining.
Marquette would pull back to within two with 36.3 seconds left after a Wesley Matthews three pointer.
From there on out, it was all DePaul as Mejia, Chandler, and Clarke buried their remaining free throws to upset Marquette 72-67 on Valentine's Day in Rosemont.
Heard, who according to DePaul coach Jerry Wainwright, "hadn't made a three pointer in six or seven years," had a big night with 14 points on 2-3 from beyond the arc. "We gave Sammy (Mejia) the weekend and Monday off and I think that's apparent from the way he played tonight, it looked like his legs were fresh," perhaps not coincidentally, Mejia had 18 points on 6-13 shooting and was DePaul's leading scorer.
"Our lack of transition defense and not understanding that they want to lob dunk every time down the floor can be attributed to our lack of communication along the front lines and all throughout the team," said Marquette Coach Tom Crean of his teams' lackluster effort. Crean was pleased with the play of junior forward Dan Fitzgerald who chipped in with 16 points and was 3-6 from beyond the arc. Crean said of Fitzgerald, "Dan did well, he made some great shots down the stretch." Marquette was led in scoring by Dominic James who scored 17 points and also chipped in with 6 assists.
The Golden Eagles look to bounce back against Louisville this Saturday, February 17, 2007, at 8pm at the Bradley Center in Milwaukee.
**Andrew Phillips is a senior majoring in Political Science and is also the President of the Marquette Band!!